To receive the report from the Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport and the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment & Transport and to consider and endorse or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member.
(1) The Cabinet Committee received a report of the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport and the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport which contained for the consideration of the Committee details of the preliminary work carried out to date identifying an engineering feasible site to deliver a Thanet Parkway Station and outlined the key milestones in taking this project forward. Ann Carruthers, Transport Strategy Delivery Manager, and Fayyaz Qadir, Principal Transport Planner - Delivery, were in attendance to introduce the report and in particular referred to the following:
(2) Kent County Council had for a number of years had an aspiration to deliver a parkway station and associated car park in Thanet to operate as a park and ride facility. A parkway station, in conjunction with the rail journey time improvements being implemented between Ashford and Ramsgate, will boost inward investment in Thanet and Dover (including Discovery Park Enterprise Zone)by making it a more attractive location to do business. The connection to London in around an hour as well as the expanded employment catchment area for Thanet and Dover residents would provide a significant economic boost to East Kent.
(3) Work had been carried out which looked at the best location for parkway station between Minster and Ramsgate stations on the Ashford to Ramsgate line. Taking into account aspects such as signalling as well as gradient, curvature and location of auto half barrier level crossings (AHBs), the optimum location for the station is immediately to the east of the Cottington Road underbridge. While this site is on embankment and will require lifts to platform level, in terms of rail operating constraints, this location is considered the most technically feasible on this section of line.
(4) The preliminary project cost estimate was £14 million and, several weeks previously, £10 million was awarded from the Single Local Growth Fund. Kent County Council has provisionally allocated £2.65 million in the Council's Medium Term Financial Plan and was working with key partners to fill in any funding gap to deliver this new station.
(5) Thanet District Members had requested whether enhancement to the current station at Ramsgate, in terms of additional car parking spaces, could provide the benefits of a new Parkway station would deliver. Four options had been identified but all had challenges and none had any clear future-proof benefits.
(6) An application had been made by the promoter of the Manston Green development but did not include any infrastructure for a parkway station.
(7) RESOLVED that the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport take forward the delivery of Thanet Parkway Station in the location to the west of Cliffsend by:
a) Commencing land acquisition work;
b) Undertaking public consultations to support the project development process; and
c) Undertaking project development work to enable the submission of a planning application and design work for the scheme.